- That is insane!! – I said as soon as she left the cubicle.
- It might be, but don’t jump to conclusions.
- I am sorry…I do not understand.
- You will – he answered briefly. That spawned in me a mix of
curiosity and confusion, mood in which I stayed while assisting the professor in consulting the disc left by the astroarcheologyst.
On the on-screen directories there were the following links:
v Tablets.pht (images and multidimensional projections of the tablets);
v Sumer.doc (translating schemes in Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurrian and other ancient Minor Asia languages);
v Goddess.doc (References to the legend of Ti’amat in the passages of tales like Enuma Elish –in its five versions- and the Epic of Gilgamesh, along with long notes by Dr. Tarem.);
v Streakey.doc (Review of the translation made by Dr. Streaky’s team);
v Tarem.doc (Translation of the tablets made by the doctor herself);
v Eclipses.cht (Full and partial Solar eclipse simulator software, to be seen from Earth and the Moon up to the year 2440); and,
v Maps.cht (Navigation software with 31 relief maps of the lunar zone between 120 and 123 degrees East longitude, and 2 and 5 degrees North latitude.)
We began with the tablets.
The screen began showing the characteristics of those ancient pieces. There were six coarse stones of hardened clay that a team of experts had managed to rebuild from multiple fragments, very well preserved taking into consideration the time that had passed since that clay was baked. Once restored and ready for their display in a museum (which never happened), their measurements averaged a length of 60 centimeters, a width of 30 and a thickness of 4.5 centimeters. Up until then, the biggest tablets found by archeologists in that or any other area of the world, didn’t measure more than 25 centimeters long, or more than 16 centimeters wide and had a thickness of barely 2.5 centimeters. To this day I haven’t heard either of other tablets been found exceeding those dimensions.
From all the vestiges found at the ziggurat – pieces of pots, tools, small ornaments – they were without a doubt, the main archeological event. This was the most ancient document, once its authenticity was proven, of the Sumerian culture and its cosmogony. The pictographic message was written on clay identified as being from Mesopotamia but mixed with an unknown substance, which apparently had granted it an extraordinary resistance to the passing of time. When zooming in, I noticed that its pictographs, carved during the dawn of the proto-literary period, were a strange combination of drawings, signs and geometrical outlines. It was an amalgam of representations that invoked symbolical archetypes related to a subtle but at the same time deep sensation of ancestral vertigo. That sensation repelled me, but it also generated a special influx over my spirit.
We then proceeded to consult the second file on the disk, containing the design of a detailed translating method of Sumerian made by Dr. Tarem. In it were a number of observations of the Kramer method, as well as a group of formulas related with the translation of the Elamit tongue. All of this was associated with different versions of the legend in different tongues, from the first ancient times, most of which have faded out. These helped support Tarem’s discrepancies regarding the version that the research team commanded by Streaky had. The statement on debate – and on which she made particular emphasis – was the interpretation of the passages related to the part played by of the goddess on the moments after her death.
Also, in this file, an important amount of passages from Enuma Elish and Gilgamesh, epic works of the Mesopotamian civilization was included. The extracts (in the case of the first title corresponding to the versions of Ninive, Neobabylon, of Assur, of Kish and of Uruk) were complemented with glossaries and vast references on the subject. There were also long quotes on old books like Die biblische und die babylonische Gottesidde (Leipzig, 1913) written by Johannes Hehn, as well as summaries of the essay “Religion und Sittlichkeit nach den Anschauungen del Babylonier”by Wolfram Von Soden (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen, Vol. LXXXIX, 1935). There were also references to the classic work The Gilgmesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels (Chicago, 1946) regarded as one of the main works of Alexander Heidel. This file ended with numerous references and research extracts back then up to date, such as the outstanding essay by Julius Castorias, Sumerian Mythology: birth and death (Londres, 2017) and the no-less captivating treatise coordinated by Mohammed Baruk, Ti’amat: the origin of Eve (Bagdad, 2019).
We then proceeded to examine the main document that had been translated by Dr. Tarem.
According to her version here is what the tablets said (the parenthesis stand for missing fragments or fragments impossible to decipher due to the wearing off of some portions in some of the tablets):
Before the beginning Ti’amat reigned
And nothing happened without the will
Of the amorphous being that came form the bottom.
But while Ti’amat followed
The orders of the supreme master
Her divine companions all at once
Disturbed her kingdom: the loins of Ti’amat
Danced in her bosom; there where they would set the sky.
So it was that the creator of the Great Gods
Called upon his most loyal servant:
“Mummu, who brings joy to my heart, let us go before Ti’amat”
To her they asked for advice
on the Rebel Gods.
The Mother Goddess spoke:
“Your ways make me mad
I will destroy you so that I can reign again.”
“The followers of Ti’amat
eager for combat
heated like lions
(…) clothing with terror fierce dragons
And the mother creator of all forms
gave them daunting weapons:
Monstrous snakes with razor-sharp teeth
Creatures filled with venom and not blood
Crowned with flames to the style of the Elders.
When Anu learned that the Goddess of the deep darkness
Wanted to subdue his supporters
(…) He ordered Enlil, his chief warrior:
“The assembly of gods commands you to battle Ti’amat
to slice her body
and spill her blood in the desert”
Enlil made a bow and a carcaj
Knitting a net to trap Ti’amat
He ordered the four winds to be alert;
Gifts from his father Anu
which he placed on the borders of his net
and having the lightning precede him
to shield his body.
Deploying his powerful net
Enlil surprised Ti’amat
who opened her gullet to devour him.
But the winds always alert did not let her.
The wind of the South and the wind of the East,
wind of the North and wind of the West.
So it was that Enlil with a speedy arrow was able
to pierce her heart.
But Enlil did not drag her body
Nor broke her skull nor cut her into pieces
Nor ordered the winds to cast forth her blood
Onto the dry desert sands
Enlil did not fulfill all of Anu’s words
And so the immortal Ti’amat
Mother of all sorcerers
Appealed to the power of the Elders:
“When you sleep in your temple, Anu,
hidden by the shadow of what my grave will be,
I shall reign again”.
Then she sent the Moon out
Bestowing upon it the night
Place of her slumber beneath the great mountain
The furthest and most opposed
In the wrapping of death
Until a far away dream of the sun”
This is what was written on the tablets.
While I read those verses I thought I heard an unknown echo inspired by a numinous background, like the resounding of chants from long ago. For an instant it sounded so real that I thought it was part of the atmosphere created by the disk itself. Realizing that it was not so, a chilling uneasiness went up from the middle of my back to the base of my neck. On Le Kratov’s face I thought I could see (although I do not know if he, too, “heard” that strange music) a similar emotion: his eyes shone with a mix of pleasure and fear, of discovery and caution. With the peeking perhaps of an instinctive fright.
Both caught by the legend, we continued studying the USB.
From the eclipse simulator program I may not have much to say right now, therefore I will only say that it allowed to reproduce the course of a total Solar eclipse that would take place in three days and which umbra was to pass precisely on the place where over five thousand years ago the primitive founders of (the long gone) city of Uruk, where Anu was adored. In what seemed like a peculiar cosmic coincidence (I later understood that it was in no way a random event) during the eclipse the Moon would be in its perigean, while the Earth would also be on its furthest distance from the Sun; both circumstances would make the hiding of the king star unusually lengthy, with a totality phase of a little over seven minutes.
The archives of the lunar maps included a complete cartography of the region where Tarem supposed Ti’amat’s grave was found. The series was a portion of a group of tablets processed by an old satellite on the lunar orbit, 200 kilometers off the surface that, after 300 full loops (one in four hours) had photographed both sides of the Moon. The composition analysis of the surface had been done with invisible light, ultraviolet and infrared. Processed with a laser telemetry unit so as to calculate the distance between the satellite and the surface, the projections gave an actual virtual map of the mountainous and desolated relief.
I must acknowledge that these series of historical, linguistic, literary and astronomical references filled me with doubt (I mean, in this case certainties) on the extravagant theory of the astroarcheologyst, and with it, a kind of special curiosity over what truth the legend itself could hold. What we had, up to that moment, analyzed appeared indicative of what, with a good hue of fantasy, was said by Ilnya Tarem seemed to have some foundation. Apparently, Le Kratov, who vehemently asked me to accompany him on the expedition, also thought so. In particular, he spoke very well of her:
- I’ve known her for some time, on Earth. She attended some of my first lectures on luminic transportation. It is no wonder that a professional of astroarcheology be interested in such subjects, but it did catch my attention that in spite of the general opinion back then, she would support my first formulations on the uselessness of “cosmic chords” as a way to move through interstellar spaces. According to my first theories, the only way of passing through the enlarged cider abysms was across what I graphically called “Tunnels of Total Darkness”… Anyway, it is not this what I wish to talk about, but of the expedition… I didn’t hear from Ilnya for years although not long ago I learned that she had put aside her expeditions in a woody and cold spot of the American continent, called Sentinel Hill, to go to the warm Mesopotamian deserts because of the recently discovered ziggurat of Nippur…
- All right – I interrupted anxiously, since, in fact, I didn’t need backgrounds and recommendations to make my decision – I will go with you.
Le Kratov wasn’t the only one surprised with my abrupt answer. Even with my relative and further more logical skepticism, I realized that I had not hesitated in accepting his invitation to form part of the a most peculiar expedition. Had it been because since my arrival to the Moon I wished to stroll beyond the near exteriors of the orb station visited on the tours and the traditional field trips to the near by hills? The expedition was, without a doubt a great opportunity – I told myself – to go to the dark side. “I will make the most of it and take pictures of the Earth while it crosses the Moon shadow, and I will even have the opportunity to make an optical experiment.” It wouldn’t take long when I found myself reflecting if my rather abrupt decision had been motivated by the influence of the bizarre legend, whose prophecy – without realizing – had caught me.